Responsible Office – Department:
Effective Date of Policy:
February 2, 2021
Management from time to time may make use of disciplinary warnings to inform employees of a problem that may exist. Disciplinary warnings should be coordinated with the Employee Engagement Department. Such notification is designed to help employees correct a work related problem and improve performance. If a problem continues and the appropriate steps are not taken to correct it, further disciplinary actions will be taken up to and including termination of employment. The University reserves the right of immediate discharge without warning, particularly in the case of major infractions of University rules or policies, a threat to the health or safety of members of the University community or a gross failure to fulfill job responsibilities.
Progressive discipline is designed to provide a structured corrective action process to improve and prevent a recurrence of undesirable employee behavior and performance issues.
Outlined below are the steps of Daemen’s progressive discipline policy and procedures. Daemen reserves the right to combine or skip steps depending on the facts of each situation and the nature of the offense. Some of the factors that will be considered are whether the offense is repeated despite coaching, counseling or training; the employee’s work record; and the impact the conduct and performance issues have on the University.
Nothing in this policy provides any contractual rights regarding employee discipline or counseling, nor should anything in this policy be read or construed as modifying or altering the employment-at-will relationship between Daemen and its employees.
Step 1: Verbal warning
The verbal warning creates an opportunity for the immediate supervisor to bring attention to the existing performance, conduct or attendance issue. The supervisor should discuss with the employee the nature of the problem or the violation of company policies and procedures. The supervisor is expected to clearly describe expectations and steps the employee must take to improve his or her performance or resolve the problem.
The supervisor will prepare written documentation of the verbal counseling. The employee will be asked to sign this document to demonstrate his or her understanding of the issues and the corrective action. The supervisor must also sign the Disciplinary Notice and provide a copy of this notice to the Employee Engagement Department to be placed in the employee’s personnel file.
Step 2: Written warning
The written warning involves more-formal documentation of the performance, conduct or attendance issues and consequences and should be coordinated with the Employee Engagement Department.
The immediate supervisor and their manager or designee will meet with the employee to review any additional incidents or information about the performance, conduct or attendance issues as well as any prior relevant corrective action plans. The written warning will outline the consequences for the employee of his or her continued failure to meet performance or conduct expectations.
The written warning may also include a statement indicating that the employee may be subject to additional discipline, up to and including termination, if immediate and sustained corrective action is not taken.
Employees will be required to sign the disciplinary notice to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and corrective action.. Their signature is an acknowledgement that the warning was delivered to them. Notices must also be signed by the supervisor and a witness and the supervisor must provide a copy to the employee and to the Employee Engagement AVP to be placed in the employee’s personal file.
Step 3: Suspension and final written warning
Some performance, conduct or safety incidents are so problematic and harmful that the most effective action may be the temporary removal of the employee from the workplace. When immediate action is necessary to ensure the safety of the employee or others, the immediate supervisor may suspend the employee pending the results of an investigation.
Suspensions that are recommended as part of the normal sequence of the progressive discipline policy and procedures are subject to approval from a next-level manager and the Employee Engagement AVP.
Depending on the seriousness of the infraction, the employee may be suspended without pay in full-day increments consistent with federal, state and local wage and hour employment laws. Non-exempt/hourly employees may not substitute or use an accrued paid vacation or sick day in lieu of the unpaid suspension. In compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), unpaid suspension of salaried/exempt employees is reserved for serious workplace safety or conduct issues. The Employee Engagement AVP will provide guidance to ensure that the discipline is administered without jeopardizing the FLSA exemption status.
Employees will be required to sign the disciplinary notice. Their signature is an acknowledgement that the warning was delivered to them. Notices must also be signed by the supervisor and a witness and the supervisor must provide a copy to the employee and to the Employee Engagement AVP to be placed in the employee’s personal file.
Pay may be restored to the employee if an investigation of the incident or infraction absolves the employee of wrongdoing.
Step 4: Recommendation for termination of employment
The last and most serious step in the progressive discipline process is a recommendation to terminate employment. Generally, Daemen will try to exercise the progressive nature of this policy by first providing coaching opportunities, warnings, issuing a final written warning or suspending the employee from the workplace before proceeding to a recommendation to terminate employment. However, Daemen reserves the right to combine and skip steps depending on the circumstances of each situation and the nature of the offense. Furthermore, employees may be terminated without prior notice or disciplinary action. Employee terminations must be reviewed by and coordinated with the Employee Engagement Department in advance.
Management’s recommendation to terminate employment must be approved by the Employee Engagement AVP and the Division Director or designee.
Performance and Conduct Issues Not Subject to Progressive Discipline
Behavior that is illegal is not subject to progressive discipline and may result in immediate termination. Such behavior may be reported to local law enforcement authorities.
Similarly, theft, substance abuse, intoxication, fighting and other acts of violence at work are also not subject to progressive discipline and may be grounds for immediate termination.
The employee will be provided copies of all progressive discipline documentation. The employee will be asked to sign copies of this documentation attesting to his or her receipt and understanding of the corrective action outlined in these documents.
Copies of these documents will be placed in the employee’s official personnel file in the Employee Engagement Department.